Mike Richards is the Brand Manager at Amcham Finland, a business network serving over 300+ companies to grow their business in the New North region. Prior to Amcham, Mike was the Executive Director of UNO in El Paso, Texas, a non-profit organization designed to help young people succeed in life. During this time, Mike’s podcast was featured on iTunes as a top trending podcast. He also traveled through Mexico and the Southern United States speaking to more than 100,000 young people and college students as a motivational speaker.
His stage fright moment
The first time Mike was invited to speak was at a small church in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Everybody in the audience was 45 years old and older. He had 20 minutes to speak. He was prepared, excited to speak, but also really nervous. Already onstage, suddenly he grabbed his notes and started reading as though he was reading a grocery list. Nobody found it funny. After his opening line, he said, “I’m done, thank you,” and left the stage.
Related: Speakers shine with pathos
Why to start with a story
It helps people to immediately identify themselves with your message, to make them think, “Yes, I had that experience.” Stories are a great connector, eye opener.
Steps to bring your message until the talk ends with a story
First of all, define the problem and a proposed solution. Then, find a story that helps your audience to identify themselves with the problem.
During the delivery:
1. Start with a story
2. Transition – tell the problem
3. Transition – next points
4. Transition – this is the ideal solution
5. Transition – next points
(Use pieces of the story to transition to the next points)
6. Bring the story back to the end with your punchline
More about using stories
Besides your main story, you can use a few additional ones that support specific points, but don’t use too many.
You can always use visuals, voices, props, but use only one per talk. Don’t have too many moving parts as it can be distracting.
“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” —Thomas J. Watson
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Routine to Shine
Don’t overthink. Stop rehearsing at least 12 hours before your speech. You will sound more spontaneous, more as having a conversation with your audience.